So I live in front of about 150 acres of land that is currently being reclaimed as prairie by a group called the Prairie Enthusiasts (plug). As good for the land as it might be, removing all the Sumac and scrub trees that have taken over what used to be grass land; they are moving all the critters into the little five acre plot I bought three years ago. Our chicken coop is one of the corn crib sections in the back half of our barn. I lined it with plywood, put in heavily screened windows with removable glass panels at about five foot up. It's very spacious, so I have room to go in and close it the inside which means no problems with predators unhooking anything. We have still lost all of our chickens over winters though, and killing them seems to just leave room for the next family to move in. First it was the fact that there was no ceiling over the birds and the coons would climb in from above. Obviously I put up a ceiling that spring. The second year two of them hid inside the coop during the day and I sacrificed my birds because I forgot to look around before closing them in. Well, this year the monster's aren't waiting until winter. Yesterday my wife saw one about the size of our Pit Bull on short legs hanging out in the back yard. Is there a such thing as a Dire Coon? I went out last night to find a female raccoon just sitting in the chickens doorway. It knew right away it had already eaten because there were twelve out of fifteen birds sitting up on their roosts that the coon was ignoring. I even had time to get my coon killing tools and she just sat there. I'm going to start trapping them, but I won't be able to use a leg trap because I have barn cats and a dog that play in the woods where the coons live. I'm going to be getting a live cage trap, but I know the coons will choose live chickens over any bait, because they've already had a taste. So what I will do is strap the box right inside the chickens door. Instead of closing them up I will use them as bait from the safe side of the cage. We'll see how it goes.